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Cargo Cults

Series of belies found among the islanders, especially the Melanesians, that cargo ships and airplanes can be summoned magically to bring goods and money. The practice is based on the native perception of the ‘white man’s" power and that ideally roles should be reversed allowing Western wealth and material possessions to be redistributed.

For example, inhabitants of an island in the New Hebrides (Vanuatu) believed that a white leader named Jon Frum will arrive, bringing "cargo" in a huge scarlet airplane and will drive all other white people from the island helping the inhabitants to regain control. They also believe an army in waiting in a crater of a volcano to help him. There are magical rituals designed to summon him. Jon Frum is carved in wood and painted red, along side of a representation of his aircraft. A.G.H.

Source: 62.


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